News in Brief

Nobel laureate in economics, public-health dean, breaking ground in Allston, and more

Claudia Goldin, Nobel laureate

Claudia Goldin | courtesy of claudia goldin

Economics Nobelist

Lee professor of economics Claudia Goldin, the first woman tenured in Harvard’s economics department, was awarded the 2023 Nobel Prize in economic sciences on October 9—only the third woman so honored, and the first as the solo laureate. She was recognized “for having advanced our understanding of women’s labor market outcomes.” New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, himself an economics Nobelist, wrote that that characterization of her work “sold Goldin a bit short by failing to note her hugely important contributions” on “inequality more broadly, notably her role in documenting the sudden and drastic decline in inequality that took place in the 1940s, creating the middle-class society I grew up in (which has now been destroyed).” The Economist hailed Goldin’s use of historical data to answer previously inaccessible questions (such as the magnitude of gender-based gaps in compensation), and the relevance of her findings to policy—from ending employment discrimination to making workplaces more flexible. See for coverage of her research.

Public Health’s Pilot

Andrea Baccarelli, an associate professor at the Harvard School of Public Health from 2010 to 2016, returns to the faculty as dean, effective January 1. An endocrinologist who studies the mechanisms that link exposures to pollutants to disease, he has most recently been Hess professor of environmental health sciences and epidemiology at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health. Announcing the appointment in early October, President Claudine Gay cited Baccarelli’s “fresh perspective” on how the school “can contribute to local, national, and international conversations around improving public health and equity.” The new dean earned his medical degree at the University of Perugia in 1995, his Ph.D. in occupational health and industrial hygiene at the University of Milan in 2003, and his M.S. in epidemiology at the University of Turin in 2005. Learn more at

Divisional Deans

Hopi Hoekstra, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, advised colleagues on November 7 that divisional deans Robin Kelsey (arts and humanities) and Christopher Stubbs (science) will conclude their service at the end of this academic year. Divisional deans oversee departments’ recruiting and appointment of faculty members, and have been heavily involved in FAS’s strategic planning, which continues, so both transitions are important for their disciplines’ immediate and long-term futures. Appointing their successors will enable Hoekstra to make a significant mark on the faculty’s composition and priorities early in her deanship. Stubbs, an early advocate for the appropriate use of artificial intelligence in teaching and research, will remain Hoekstra’s senior adviser on generative AI.

Development Dean

Michael McNally began service as associate vice president and dean of development for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences on October 23—a key, early senior appointment by FAS dean Hopi Hoekstra. McNally had been development vice president at Massachusetts General Hospital, and earlier fulfilled senior development roles at the School of Public Health and MIT.

Rhodes Roster

A bumper crop of 10 undergraduates were awarded Rhodes Scholarships for study at Oxford University, including nine U.S. scholars and one international scholar (representing Pakistan): Aishani Aatresh, Suhaas Bhat, Benjamin Chang, Isabella B. Cho (one of this year’s Harvard Magazine Ledecky Undergradaute Fellows), Mira-Rose Kingsbury Lee, Xavier R. Morales, Lyndsey R. Mugford, Asmer Asrar Safi, Lucy Tu, and Eleanor M. Wikstrom.

Aid beyond Cambridge

Juniors whose family income is $85,000 or less—who thus attend the College free of charge—will now receive a $2,000 “launch grant” to help defray the costs of graduate school admissions tests, travel to job interviews, or other preparations for life after Commencement. The unrestricted grants parallel $2,000 start-up grants, first offered in 2016, for matriculating first-year students below the family income threshold. The College estimates that nearly one-quarter of undergraduates qualify for the augmented support.

Eliot House Exit

Professor of ecclesiastical history Kevin Madigan and professor of the practice of Christian studies Stephanie Paulsell, Eliot House faculty deans since July 2020, announced this fall that they will step down at the end of the current academic year—short of a normal five-year term of service. In their message to the house community, they cited a family illness. Harvard College dean Rakesh Khurana, who is leading the search for successors, said, “Stephanie and Kevin have been extraordinary leaders and ideal colleagues, and it is clear how much they care for each of you. I am so grateful for the community they have built with you over the past four years. I will miss them dearly as Faculty Deans, as I am sure you will….”


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Photograph by Jonathan Shaw/Harvard Magazine

Breaking Ground in Allston

An official groundbreaking ceremony for the first phase of the commercial “enterprise research campus” in Allston took place on November 1. President Claudine Gay, former president Lawrence S. Bacow (who effected the plan for the development), Boston Mayor Michelle Wu ’07, J.D. ’12, Tishman Speyer CEO Rob Speyer ’91 (Harvard’s development partner), and other elected and appointed officials participated. The initial phase consists of 900,000 square feet of commercial development on six acres of Harvard-owned land, including lab space for life-sciences companies (no tenants have been disclosed), 343 rental apartments (a quarter will be affordable), a 246-room hotel, street-level shops and restaurants, and more than two acres of public outdoor space. Parallel construction of an adjacent University-owned and operated conference center will also be managed by Tishman Speyer. The site, facing Western Avenue, is across from the Business School campus. Construction is scheduled to conclude in 2026. Learn more at and And for an update on regulatory approval for the new American Repertory Theater facility and Harvard affiliate housing near the Stadium, see

Standardized Tests

Continuing their reports on education and economic mobility, Harvard’s Opportunity Insights researchers provided the New York Times with a revealing analysis of SAT scores (read a comment about their work on admissions in “Legacies’ Legacy,” November-December 2023, page 4). Their data on students’ standardized tests in 2011, 2013, and 2015 reveal that those from families in the top quintile of incomes were seven times as likely to achieve a 1300 SAT score as those in the bottom quintile (17 percent of students vs. 2.4 percent). Nearly one-third of students in the top 1 percent of family incomes scored a 1300 or better. Given how few students from the lowest-income cohort even take the tests, they accounted for just 0.6 percent of the total cohort scoring at least 1300—compared with the 33 percent of all students scoring that well whose families are in the top 0.1 percent of incomes ($11.3 million in current dollars). Those disparities, based on access to good K-12 schools and the many other advantages associated with higher incomes, obviously predate college admissions decisions—but, equally obviously, shape such decisions when applications are vetted.

Ratings Rigmarole

As popular ratings of colleges and universities have come under increasingly fierce criticism (see “Aiming for Excellence,” July-August 2022, page 55), new oddities keep cropping up. The Times Higher Education “world university rankings” for 2024, disseminated in October, look kindly upon Harvard in most categories. But what is a casual user to make of MIT ranking second in “arts and humanities” (behind Stanford, ahead of Cambridge and Oxford, with the Crimson in fifth place), and Harvard ranking first in engineering (ahead of Stanford, MIT, and others)?

From Slavery to Segregation

Harvard, funded in 1636, had a long and deep involvement in slavery, detailed through the work of the presidential committee on the legacy of slavery and its recommendations pertaining to the descendant community, on-campus memorialization, outreach to historically black colleges and universities, and more (“Harvard’s Ties to Slavery,” July-August 2022, page 22). Rice University, founded in 1912, a half-century after slavery’s end, set itself a different, and in some ways more difficult, challenge in coming to terms with its past and present through its Task Force on Slavery, Segregation, and Racial Injustice. Accordingly, its final report, released in September, not only corrects the historical record (documenting the investments in slavery by William Marsh Rice and his brother Frederick) but also details the school’s halting progress toward racial equity. Its recommendations bear on contemporary academic matters in a way Harvard’s report did not, calling for expanded investments in recruiting and retaining black staff members, a commitment to appoint at least 80 black tenured and tenure-track faculty members by 2033 amid an effort to grow the faculty by 200 professors (with more black scholars appointed to endowed chairs, too), and increased outreach to black schools and community organizations to encourage more student applications—among other measures.

Medical Honorands

On October 24, President Joe Biden conferred the National Medal of Science on professor of neurology Gregory A. Petsko. A pioneering enzymologist and structural biologist, he was recognized for advancing understanding of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, commonly called Lou Gehrig’s disease). Petsko has worked on therapies for each of these diseases, all of which are being or about to be tested in clinical trials, according to the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.…Dennis Kasper, professor of immunology and Channing professor of medicine, shared the $500,000 Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research with Princeton’s Bonnie Bassler and Washington University’s Jeffrey Gordon for research on the microbiome, bacteria, and their communication in the body and role in disease and health.

On Other Campuses

As Yale College’s undergraduate enrollment approaches Harvard’s, its ladder-faculty (tenured and tenure-track) ranks are expanding, too. The arts and sciences and engineering and applied science cohort increased to 721, an all-time high, according to the Yale Daily News, up 44 positions from the prior academic year. Harvard had 730 ladder-faculty members last academic year. Yale plans continued fervent hiring, especially in engineering and related fields, where it intends to add several dozen professors. The growth is funded by a $7-billion capital campaign, heavily focused on science and engineering, which has raised more than $5 billion to date, with nearly half the proceeds designated for Yale’s endowment.…Paralleling investment in quantum science at Harvard, Yale, and elsewhere, Princeton has augmented the leadership of its quantum science and engineering institute, begun accepting applications for a new Ph.D. curriculum in the field, and committed to a purpose-built facility for the program.

From Razors to RNA?

Procter & Gamble will move its Gillette razor manufacturing operations from South Boston to suburban Andover, freeing more (perhaps all) of its prime 31-acre site for redevelopment, the Boston Globe reports. Tishman Speyer, the private developer for the first phase of Harvard’s enterprise research campus (ERC) in Allston, now under construction, has already announced plans for a nearly half-million-square-foot laboratory and office complex on the Gillette facility’s parking lot, adding to the enormous supply of life-sciences quarters planned or being built in and around the city. The larger Gillette site, home to other life-sciences buildings, is even closer to the Longwood Medical Area than the ERC, and thus may represent still more competition for such prospective tenants.


Trumbull professor of American history Jane Kamensky, who has also been Pforzheimer Foundation director of Radcliffe’s Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, has been appointed president of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, effective January 15. “Facing Harvard,” her feature on John Singleton Copley and the University, appeared in the November-December 2016 issue (page 42).…Yu Kongjian, D.Dn. ’95, founding dean of Peking University College of Architecture and Landscape, who for many years commuted from Beijing to teach at the Graduate School of Design, has been awarded the 2023 Cornelia Hahn Oberlander International Landscape Architecture Prize, with a $100,000 honorarium. It recognizes his ecologically informed designs and “sponge city” concept, deployed throughout China, to capture and filter rainwater. His work was described in detail in “Global Reach” (May-June 2010, page 51).…Chern professor of mathematics Dan Freed has been appointed director of the Center of Mathematical Sciences and Applications, a multidisciplinary hub for research in mathematics, statistics, and adjacent fields.…Moore professor of biological anthropology Joseph Henrich, chair of the department of human evolutionary biology, has been awarded the $100,000 Panmure House Prize for scholarship on collective thinking and cultural innovation; his research was the subject of “What Makes Humans Smart?” (September-October 2023, page 9).…Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society has created an Applied Social Media Lab. Given social-media platforms that have fomented “a dangerously broken system of online exchange that spills over into the real world,” the lab aims to provide “industry-trained technologists the freedom to build social-media solutions that center the public interest.”

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